April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

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In March, we discussed healthy eating, as March was National Nutrition Month. Now, we are in April, which is designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This month of the year has been chosen to bring consciousness to this potentially deadly habit. But, of course we want to keep constantly diligent not to engage in this activity at any second while we are behind the wheel.

Distracted Driving Defined

The news lately has been inundated with stories of horrific automobile crashes caused by distracted driving. Distracted driving is defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as “any activity that diverts attention from including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment, or navigation system – anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving” . The CDC adds “there are three main types of distraction: Visual: taking your eyes off the road; Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.”

Distracted Driving: There’s No Going Back

After these unthinkable automobile crashes occur because of someone taking their eyes off of the road, or their hands off of the wheel, many times we hear the person at fault saying, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I was texting” or “I was eating my sandwich.” By then it’s too late. We can’t turn back time. We can’t undo what we did. We must all put our total attention to what’s happening on the road when we are driving, or we could pay an awful price that we must live with the rest of our life.

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Distracted Driving is Dangerous

The NHTSA goes on to tell us that,

“sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”

That puts that short 5 seconds in a whole new perspective, doesn’t it?

Another unnerving fact they state is that “in 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed, and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. During daylight hours, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving.” These statistics are startling, but it gives some insight into how distracted we really are and how dangerous it is.

AAA even tells us further that “latest research has discovered that distraction “latency” lasts an average of 27 seconds, meaning that, even after drivers put down the phone or stop fiddling with the navigation system, drivers aren’t fully engaged with the driving task.”

Teens are most affected. Downloading music, along with the usual texting and talking on the phone, are some of the main culprits.

Distracted Driving: It’s Not Worth It

With new technology bombarding us at a rapid rate, we as a society tend to put it above our main responsibilities, such as driving safely. This presents not only a danger to ourselves, but to everyone on the road around us. Be diligent, and put down that phone, food, or soda. Stay focused at the task at hand.  After all getting to your destination safely, as well as those in your path getting to theirs, is much more important than that text or french fry.

Stay safe!

photo credit: frankieleon texting and driving via photopin (license)

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